'Mass Effect: Andromeda' Features A Human-Only Protagonist For A Very Specific Reason, Explains BioWare

David Stonecipher

Being able to choose between a wide assortment of different fantasy races to play has been a long-standing tradition among many role-playing games. BioWare, one of the more popular creators of modern story-driven RPGs, still frequently stands by this tradition by recently giving players the chance to play non-human characters in the first and third installments of the Dragon Age series. The developer even provided users with a choice to control a selection of alien races from the Star Wars franchise in their MMO title, The Old Republic.

While giving players the freedom to play as a variety of fantasy races seems to be a gameplay choice that BioWare wants to present to their fans, not all of the developer's games have included the option. Most notably, no entry of the Mass Effect franchise to date has featured the ability to play as anything other than a human character. The first three entries of the widely popular sci-fi saga gave players the chance to choose between a male or female protagonist, but Commander Shepard was strictly locked into being human for story purposes.

Not allowing users to create non-human characters have even briefly spilled into other BioWare titles that generally offer a choice in playable race. For example, after giving fans the ability to play as dwarves and elves in Dragon Age: Origins, the series later featured a human-only protagonist in the series' second installment. Like with the original Mass Effect games, this limitation was a result of the narrative of Dragon Age 2 which told the very specific story of the human Hawke family. Even Dragon Age: Inquisition was originally going to have a human-only lead, but the release of the game was delayed so that BioWare could add several additional playable races.

Many might imagine that the decision to limit Mass Effect: Andromeda to a human protagonist might be to reduce development time or get around other technical issues, but BioWare has now revealed that the next Mass Effect game will once continue to focus on a human character solely for story reasons.

The general manager of BioWare's Edmonton and Montreal studios, Aaryn Flynn, briefly discussed the topic recently with fans on Twitter. According to Flynn, the decision to go win a human-only main character in Mass Effect: Andromeda is to help players more easily connect with the title's narrative theme that was described as a "human" story.

— Aaryn Flynn (@AarynFlynn) November 4, 2015

Are you okay with playing a human once again in Mass Effect: Andromeda, or would you like the opportunity to play as one of the series' many alien races?

[Image via Mass Effect]

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